Para badminton player Manasi Joshi, who is hopeful of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics next year, took to her Twitter account to share how she lost her leg in an accident when she was just 29. In a series of tweets, the World Champion wrote, "Today is 9 years of me meeting with an unfortunate road accident and surviving it."
The star athlete stunned the world when she claimed gold for India at the World Para-Badminton Championships in Basel, Switzerland last year. An engineer by qualification, Joshi met with a road accident and lost her leg in December 2011. Recalling that day, she further wrote, "On 2nd Dec 2011, I met with an accident, ironically just one day before International day for Persons with Disabilities. Every year on this day, I take out time to reflect on the past year and how much life has changed."
Today is 9 years of me meeting with an unfortunate road accident and surviving it.— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) December 2, 2020
This year alone, Joshi was named as one of the ‘Next Generation Leaders’ by TIME Magazine in October 2020. She has recently made it to BBC’s list of 100 Women for the year. APara-Badminton World Champion, Joshi became the first and only Indian para-athlete to get a Barbie doll modelled after her on International Day of Girl Child 2020. "When sports took this huge break globally, I got a lifetime worth of recognition in last 2 months. But In all this now when I look back, I realise how far I have come from that 2nd Dec 2011 incident," she expressed.
Further talking about her life before the accident, she said, "9 years is such a long time if you think, but to me, even now if someone asks me to choose between a life that I was leading before accident and now, I’d still choose the pre-amputation life. The struggles I have faced and am facing still exists. Although I am proud of the decisions I've made and the directions I’ve chosen, I still feel that the journey of last few years has been challenging. I was privileged to choose sports and am proud of myself that I continued giving my 100% to it inspite of 10,000 obstacles."
Highlight before Covid Lockdown was, being nominated for BBC's Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2019, as the only para athlete among 4 other able bodied Indian sportswomen.— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) December 2, 2020
The Covid lockdown got my family under the same roof after 3 long years.
The accident and COVID-19 experience
She went on to share how her accident and COVID-19 experience made her realise that "one person cannot bring about a change we desire, it is a combined effort." She wrote, "Sports have changed my perspectives and given me new direction altogether. I never knew it would take me here where I am right now. I am so grateful to my coaches, sports physios and trainers."
Thanking her parents for their support, Mansi Joshi wrote, "Where my parents have been my inspiration, my siblings are my constant cheerleaders. We always hear of tragedies in people’s life and we think "it happens with other people, thats life", never realising that it can happen to us. Like accidents or covid."
Please do not be harsh and critical to yourself when such things happen. How much ever care we take, we can never be ready for tragedies. Life sucks, sometimes we get hit by a truck and all we have to do is heal.— Manasi G. Joshi (@joshimanasi11) December 2, 2020
In an exclusive interview with SheThePeople, Joshi had revealed how she bounced back after her accident. “My family has never ever said ‘no’ to me. They have always encouraged me to do whatever pleases me, in a sense, they were the wind beneath my wings. Skills you learn while playing a sport remain with you for the rest of one’s life and that’s what happened to me. Sport taught me some of the most important skills, for example, to accept the current loss and try and win another time. Once you accept the loss, it’s extremely easy to adapt to new things even if it is a disability. I also followed a yoga and meditation regimen for myself in those days when I was recovering from the accident,” she said.
Talking about the challenges she faced after the accident, she had added, “The main challenge I faced was not so much the accessibility, but the insensitivity of people towards disability. I feel we in India have a long way to go in accepting disabled people into the mainstream.”
Ever since Joshi started competing at an international level, she has never returned without a medal. In September 2015, she won silver in mixed doubles at the Para-Badminton World Championship held in Stoke Mandeville, England. She clinched a bronze at 2016 women’s singles, another bronze at the 2017 World Championship, and gold at a Spanish international event. In October 2018, Joshi won a bronze medal at the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Feature Image Credit: Dhoolmitti